Good Road Trip Or Great Road Trip?

June 21, 2015

Which one is it?

It’s already been a good trip. Despite a tough loss which turned on a single misplaced pitch last night (see game story first link below), the Rainiers have gone 4-2 so far on this seven game road trip.

A loss today, and the Rainiers return home from a 4-3 road trip. Any winning road trip is a good road trip.

A win today, and it’s a 5-2 road trip – and that is a spectacular road trip.

It’s not going to be easy today. Albuquerque is starting top prospect Jon Gray and he has been dealing for the last month. The ‘Topes also have longtime high-quality major league reliever Rafael Betancourt on a rehab assignment today; he’s supposed to pitch an inning.

So Tacoma is going to have to beat some good pitching. But anything can happen – especially in a ballpark like this one in Albuquerque.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth, but Matt McBride hit a two-out, two-strike, two-run homer and Albuquerque went on to beat Tacoma, 5-3.

Today: Tacoma (34-36) at Albuquerque (31-39), 5:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: Albuquerque leads, 8-7.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Stephen Landazuri (0-3, 8.42) at RHP Jon Gray (3-5, 4.62)

Gray is a top pitching prospect who is on a roll right now: he’s delivered six straight quality starts, posting a 2.01 ERA during those outings – and three of them have come at the launching pad he calls home.

Hot Rainiers: Chris Taylor has a nine-game hitting streak, while Stefen Romero and Jesus Montero each have a seven-gamer. Romero has hit 11 doubles in his last 12 games. Montero has nine runs scored and nine RBI over the first six games of the current road trip.

Look Out For: Drew Stubbs has an eight game hitting streak, going 10-for-33. Dustin Garneau is 7-for-15 with two homers in his last three games.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 4:50 (Pacific) on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

  • The Rainiers game story explains how one pitch changed the outcome.
  • My Sunday minor league notebook for The News Tribune includes an item on a local product who broke camp with Everett.
  • The Seattle Times has noticed that Shawn O’Malley is on fire.
  • The Mariners hit three home runs and Taijuan Walker established a career-high for strikeouts in a win over Houston last night. Makes me wonder: how many MLB pitchers are going to set a career high for strikeouts against Houston this season?
  • Prior to the game, the Mariners performed the annual scapegoating of the hitting coach, re-assigning Howard Johnson to the minor leagues. His replacement? None other than the great Edgar Martinez.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook catches up with Mark Trumbo.
  • Ryan Divish’s Sunday baseball column is on the awkward situation regarding the American League All-Star Team – AKA the Kansas City Royals.
  • In the PCL, major leaguers veterans Jhoulys Chacin and Matt Cain locked horns in Sacramento, with Reno’s Chacin earning a 2-1 victory.
  • Fresno’s Matt Duffy homered and drove in three runs in a 7-2 win over Las Vegas. The Grizzlies are getting a lift from new arrival Tony Kemp.
  • Abraham Almonte and Jedd Gyorko had the big hits as El Paso stunned Salt Lake with three runs in the bottom of the ninth to win, 5-4.
  • Colorado Springs used two big innings to down New Orleans, 9-6. The paper has a Fathers Day feature on Sky Sox first baseman Matt Clark and his father Terry, who is the Mariners Pitching Coordinator.
  • Tommy Field drove in the game’s only run as Round Rock beat Iowa, 1-0. The game featured a two hour, 29 minute rain delay in the second inning.
  • Omaha rallied with four runs in the eighth inning to beat Nashville, 5-3. The Storm Chasers have won five in a row.
  • Oklahoma City picked up another win, this time an 8-3 decision over Memphis. We have a Q&A with Dodgers hitting coach Franklin Stubbs.

Happy Fathers Day!


Rainiers Raking On Road Trip

June 20, 2015

The Rainiers are five games into a seven-game road trip through two of the PCL’s best hitter’s parks, and the Tacoma lineup is taking full advantage of the friendly conditions.

Tacoma is 4-1 on the trip, and the team is batting .378 as a unit. The club has 79 hits in the five games – that’s an average of 15.8 hits per game on this trip.

It’s resulting in a lot of runs, too: Tacoma has averaged 10.6 runs per game on the trip, scoring 53 times.

We’ve got two games left here in high-elevation Albuquerque before the team returns home  – and to sea level – for an 11-game homestand starting on Tuesday.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers took a 10-2 lead at the seventh inning stretch and still had to sweat it out, eventually claiming a 15-10 victory at Albuquerque on Friday night. Jesus Montero homered twice, Chris Taylor had four hits, and Forrest Snow lasted six innings allowing two runs for the win.

Today: Tacoma (34-35) at Albuquerque (30-39), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: All tied up, 7-7.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Jordan Pries (3-1, 5.67) at RHP Jair Jurrjens (1-0, 2.60)

Pries makes his first start since May 5th. The Rainiers opening day starter, Pries has been sidelined by forearm tightness. The Rainiers are hoping he delivers four innings today.

A former NL All-Star with the Braves, Jurrjens has also been slowed by injury this season.

Hot Rainiers: Franklin Gutierrez went 0-for-6 yesterday, ending his hitting streak is still 20 games. He went 30-for-81 during the streak, which is a .370 batting average. Shawn O’Malley is now the hottest Rainiers hitter: he’s 19-for-40 over a nine-game hitting streak, and he’s batting .394 in the month of June. Stefen Romero has hit 11 doubles in his last 12 games. Jesus Montero has nine runs scored and nine RBI over the first five games of the current road trip.

Look Out For: Drew Stubbs has a seven game hitting streak, going 9-for-29. Dustin Garneau is six-for-11 with two homers in his last three games.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 (Pacific) on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

  • The Rainiers game story serves as proof that everyone is far too focused on golf right now, as evidenced by The News Tribune’s copy editors failing to correct my their/they’re error. Meanwhile, the Isotopes tried to shake things up but had a poor outing by their starting pitcher.
  • Roenis Elias allowed a home run on the first and last pitches he threw, but everything in between was beautiful and the Mariners beat Houston on Friday night, 5-2.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook is packed with tidbits as always.
  • In the PCL, the Rainiers actually gained a game on first-place Fresno. Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit two three-run homers for Las Vegas in an 11-5 win at Fresno.
  • Reno hit three home runs in a 6-3 win at Sacramento. Nick Evans had a three-run shot. The paper has a nice feature on veteran Reno infielder Cody Ransom.
  • Jedd Gyorko had three hits and a homer in El Paso’s 5-2 win over Salt Lake. The Bees have lost six straight games.
  • Omaha had to wait out a rain delay with two outs in the bottom of the tenth inning before securing a 1-0 win at Nashville.
  • Iowa picked up a 9-3 win at Round Rock despite several ejections. Iowa ace Donn Roach improved to 7-1, 2.29.
  • Hector Olivera continues to shine and Oklahoma City downed Memphis, 6-3.
  • New Orleans pitched a rare two-hit shutout at Colorado Springs. Ex-Rainiers pitcher Travis Blackley worked the first five innings.

Singles Night In Albuquerque

June 19, 2015

The current road trip through Reno and now Albuquerque features seven straight games in great hitter’s parks, and the Tacoma Rainiers had a field day on Thursday night.

Tacoma had a season-high 22 hits* (including 20 singles) in a 12-3 win at Albuquerque. Three different players: Shawn O’Malley, Zach Shank, and Steve Baron – had four-hit games.

Shank and Baron are recent call-ups from Double-A Jackson, and they were hitting in the No. 8 and No. 9 spots in the lineup. Shank had his first four Triple-A hits, while Baron moved his Tacoma batting average from .190 to .320.

Tacoma is 3-1 on the current road trip, and is 14-6 over the last twenty games. The Rainiers are just two games under .500 for the first time since early May.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma had a season-high 22 hits – twenty of which were singles – and blasted Albuquerque on Thursday night, 12-3. Overlooked in all of that offense was a solid start by Sam Gaviglio, who tossed six scoreless innings.

Today: Tacoma (33-35) at Albuquerque (30-38), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: Albuquerque leads, 7-6.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Forrest Snow (4-4, 2.43) at LHP Yohan Flande (2-2, 6.41)

Roster Moves: Today the Rainiers are (finally) expected to add outfielder Justin Ruggiano to the roster. He was designated for assignment on June 4, and outrighted to Tacoma June 13, but somewhere along the line he picked up an injury and has not been with the team. Apparently he’s now able to play and is reporting today.

Hot Rainiers: Franklin Gutierrez had the day off yesterday, so his hitting streak is still 20 games. He’s 30-for-81 during the streak, which is a .370 batting average. Shawn O’Malley is on a tear, too: he’s 17-for-36 over an eight-game hitting streak, and he’s batting .388 in the month of June.

Look Out For: Drew Stubbs might be warming up – he has a six game hitting streak, going 7-for-24 with just four K’s (that’s what he’s trying to work on, cutting down strikeouts).

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 (Pacific) on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

After all of the singles last night, I’m expecting to see some homers tonight.

* early reports had the Rainiers hit total at 21. After the game ended there was a scoring change on a play in the sixth inning, and Shawn O’Malley was credited with a single increasing Tacoma’s total to 22 hits.


Finally, A Series Win In Reno

June 17, 2015

Quick one today, as we have a surprisingly tough travel day.

  • Tacoma won a series in Reno for the first time ever (13th try), and improved to 15-36 all time at that hellhole ballpark.
  • Franklin Gutierrez’s hitting streak reached 20. That’s the longest Tacoma streak since Mike Carp’s 22-gamer in 2011 and is six games shy of tying the franchise record.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma jumped all over Reno’s Aaron Blair in his Triple-A debut, scoring eight runs in the first three innings. Solid relief from Mayckol Guaipe and Danny Farquhar helped Tacoma claim a 9-6 victory, and a two-games-to-one series win.

Today: Tacoma (32-35) at Albuquerque (30-37), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: Albuquerque leads, 7-5.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Sam Gaviglio (6-5, 4.64) at LHP John Lannan (3-1, 3.25)

Hey, we just saw this game. This was the pitching match-up on Saturday at Cheney Stadium, when Lannan was masterful for eight innings and Albuquerque held on for a 6-3 win.

Roster Moves: I noted yesterday that Tacoma added infielder Zach Shank from Double-A Jackson, but it wasn’t until today that I realized the Rainiers picked up a player named “shank” during US Open week. This can’t possibly be coincidence, can it?

Hot Rainiers: Franklin Gutierrez extended his hitting streak to 20 games. He’s 30-for-81 during the streak, which is a .370 batting average. Shawn O’Malley has hit .400 (12-for-30) over a seven-game hitting streak.

Look Out For: Albuquerque just took two-of-three from El Paso and is 8-4 over its last 12 games. Drew Stubbs might be warming up – he has a five game hitting streak, going 6-for-19 with just three K’s (that’s what he’s trying to work on, cutting down strikeouts).

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 (Pacific) on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:


Reno Out-Hits Rainiers

June 17, 2015

Yesterday Tacoma scored four runs in the top of the first, had a 7-2 lead in the third, and still got wiped out by the Reno Aces, 14-7.

Baseballs were flying all over the place at Aces Ballpark on a warm Tuesday afternoon. Reno had 22 hits, Tacoma 15.

In the first two games of this series, Tacoma is batting .361 as a team, with 17 runs and 30 hits. The Aces are batting .408 with 18 runs and 31 hits.

Get ready for more offense in the final game of the series tonight.

The series is tied, 1-1. Tacoma has still never won a series at Aces Ballpark, which was built in 2009. This is a good opportunity to end that streak.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers were ahead 6-0 in the second inning and 7-2 in the third before Reno scored 12 unanswered runs and won it, 14-7.

Today: Tacoma (31-35) at Reno (26-39), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Arizona Diamondbacks.

Season Series: Tied, 1-1.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Justin Germano (5-2, 2.65) at RHP Aaron Blair (–)

Germano ranks sixth in the PCL in earned run average, and Blair is a touted pitching prospect who will be making his Triple-A debut.

Roster Moves: Yesterday Leury Bonilla fouled a ball off his left foot and was in a walking boot after the game – he’s been placed on the 7-day disabled list. Today the Rainiers add infielder Zach Shank from Double-A Jackson to take his spot. Shank hit .241 with no homers and seven RBI in 87 at-bats at Jackson, playing mostly second base and centerfield.

Hot Rainiers: Franklin Gutierrez extended his hitting streak to 19 games. He’s 28-for-77 during the streak, which is a .364 batting average. Shawn O’Malley has hit .400 (12-for-30) over a seven-game hitting streak.

Look Out ForNick Buss has an eight-game hitting streak (13-for-31), and the Aces have one of the best offenses in the PCL. Jamie Romak hit a go-ahead grand slam yesterday and is 6-for-10 with two grand slams when batting with the bases loaded this season.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 (Pacific) on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

  • In the Rainiers game story, manager Pat Listach remarks that there were a lot of hits. Indeed there were.
  • The Mariners lost in San Francisco yesterday and return home today. It’s Felix vs. Bumgarner tonight.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook includes a list of draft picks the team has signed.
  • Former Rainiers catcher John Baker wrote a column on “playing the right way” and unwritten rules.
  • Double-A Frisco manager Joe Mikulik had an epic meltdown after one of the worst blown umpire calls I have ever seen. This video is remarkable for both reasons.
  • In the PCL, El Paso Chihuahuas manager Pat Murphy was promoted to San Diego and will be the Padres interim manager for the remainder of the season. The Padres announced Jamie Quirk will manage El Paso starting tonight.
  • Albuquerque’s Jon Gray is on a roll. Yesterday he limited the Chihuahuas to three hits over six innings in a 3-2 victory. It was 50-cent hot dog night, and the paper reports that 9,017 fans ate 22,903 hot dogs, for an average of 2.54 hot dogs per person.
  • Rehabbing Jake Peavy pitched well for Sacramento, but Fresno’s Asher W. was even better in the Grizzlies 3-1 win.
  • Las Vegas infielder T.J. Rivera hit three doubles in a 10-6 win over visiting Salt Lake.
  • Omaha catcher Francisco Pena hit three home runs, but Casey Kotchman got the headline for his walk-off dinger to beat Iowa, 6-4.
  • Colorado Springs edged Oklahoma City in a rain-shortened game, 2-1. The paper has a story on top prospect Corey Seager.
  • Round Rock rallied to beat New Orleans, 8-7, as Beamer Weems had the game-winning hit.
  • Nashville topped rival Memphis, 7-1. Thing I just learned: they actually call it the Tennessee Lottery I-40 Cup Series.

Win a game, win a series.


Rainiers Play Day Game Today

June 16, 2015

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers scored often, relentlessly tacking on runs until they claimed a 10-4 victory in the series opener at Reno. Everyone in the lineup had at least one hit, and Tyler Olson tossed four scoreless innings from the bullpen in his best Triple-A game to date.

Today: Tacoma (31-34) at Reno (26-38), 1:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Arizona Diamondbacks.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 1-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Stephen Landazuri (0-3, 7.96) at RHP Parker Frazier (1-0, 3.75)

Roster Moves: James Jones was recalled by Seattle yesterday. Outfielder Justin Ruggiano unexpectedly did not report to the Rainiers – apparently he has some sort of injury and is not able to be play right away. I assume he’ll end up on the Tacoma disabled list, although there has been no announcement regarding this.

Hot Rainiers: Franklin Gutierrez extended his hitting streak to 18 games. He’s 26-for-72 during the streak, which is a .361 batting average. Shawn O’Malley has hit .360 (9-for-25) over a six-game hitting streak.

Look Out ForNick Buss has a seven-game hitting streak (10-for-25), and the Aces have one of the best offenses in the PCL. Despite that, Reno has lost 11 of the last 12 games.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 12:50 (Pacific) on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

  • The Rainiers game story simply explains what happened – the game went too long to get quotes before the paper’s deadline.
  • Taijuan Walker was dealing and the Mariners beat the Giants last night, 5-1.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook has lots of info from the minor leagues, including some news on players who are going to Everett. The Aqua Sox season starts on Thursday.
  • Remember last year, when the Houston Astros internal network was hacked and some of their private trade conversations were leaked on the internet? The FBI thinks that the St. Louis Cardinals did the hacking. Yowza!
  • In the PCL, Fresno beat a rehabilitating Matt Cain and Sacramento, 6-3. Lots of story lines in this rivalry, with Sacramento having “stolen” Fresno’s Giants affiliation, and Tony DeFrancesco returning to Raley Field managing the River Cats rival. We’ve got a photo gallery.
  • Las Vegas topped Salt Lake, 6-4, and Wally Backman shared his opinions on the pitch clock. I agree the pitching in the league is better this year – but I also think the clocks are having an impact on the pace of play.
  • Playing without manager Pat Murphy – who may be on his way to the big leagues – El Paso got shut out in Albuquerque, 3-0.
  • After 12-and-a-half scoreless innings, Michael Choice homered and Round Rock beat New Orleans, 1-0.
  • Colorado Springs lost at home to Oklahoma City, 5-2. Sky Sox pitcher Tyler Cravy will always remember his major league debut because of an ejection.
  • Arismendy Alcantara homered twice in Iowa’s 6-3 win at Omaha.
  • Memphis had a strong start from Nick Greenwood and beat Nashville, 5-2.

Off to the park!


Snow Saves Rainiers Bullpen

June 14, 2015

Forrest Snow tossed seven innings of one-hit ball on Sunday afternoon, earning the win as Tacoma took down Albuquerque 4-1.

Snow went deep into the game, which was very important considering the Rainiers do not have a proper starting pitcher for today’s game and are going to use a series of relief pitchers to cover the entire game at Reno.

Edgar Olmos worked the final two innings without allowing a base runner to earn the save, so only two pitchers were used.

Today Tacoma opens a three-game series at Reno, and it is the first meeting of the season between the division rivals. We’re nearly halfway through the season and tonight will be the first of 16 games the two teams will play head-to-head.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma’s Forrest Snow delivered seven innings of one-hit ball and the Rainiers beat Albuquerque, 4-1. Shawn O’Malley hit a two-run homer. Tacoma split the series with Albuquerque, 2-2, and is 11-5 over the last 16 games.

Today: Tacoma (30-34) at Reno (26-37), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Arizona Diamondbacks.

Season Series: First game.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Logan Bawcom (0-1, 2.48) at RHP Edgar Garcia (1-0, 3.75)

After Sunday’s game, Rainiers manager Pat Listach said that Bawcom will start the Rainiers “bullpen day” today in Reno. If this comes to fruition, it will be Bawcom’s first professional start after 230 career relief appearances.

Tacoma will be counting on three or four inning outings from Bawcom and Lucas Luetge today – a precarious position for the pitching staff to be in, considering that it is the opening game of a three-game series at the launching pad known as Aces Ballpark. Make sure your seatbelt is securely fastened.

Roster Moves: Reliever Danny Farquhar was optioned back to Tacoma by the Mariners; he pitched a lot for them over the weekend and is not immediately available for the Rainiers. Long-time major leaguer Kevin Gregg opted out of his contract with the Rainiers so he’s no longer on the club. An outfielder was recalled by Seattle (waiting for the Mariners to announce that one). Outfielder Justin Ruggiano is expected to be added to the active roster today, although I’m not sure if he’ll play right away (he’s been out for ten days, waiting for the waivers process to complete).

Hot Rainiers: Franklin Gutierrez had another day off on Sunday and his hitting streak remains 17 games. He’s 25-for-67 during the streak, which is a .373 batting average. Reliever Logan Bawcom escaped an inherited jam Thursday night and has allowed just one run in his last 18.2 innings pitched – it will be interesting to see if he can keep it going in the start today.

Look Out For: Reno has an old lineup that is producing a lot of offense – they have a .793 OPS as a team. 39-year-old Cody Ransom had two homers and seven RBI in one game the other day. Their longest hitting streak belongs to Nick Buss at six games (9-for-20), but keep an eye on one of their few young hitters: catcher/outfielder Peter O’Brien has a lot of power; he’s hitting .317 with 13 home runs and 51 RBI. Despite the hot hitters, Reno has lost 10 of the last 11 games.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 (Pacific) on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

  • Lauren Smith’s Rainiers game story for The News Tribune has reaction from Forrest Snow, Shawn O’Malley, and Pat Listach.
  • The Mariners got worked over in Houston, 13-0. If you really want to read about that, click here.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook catches up with former Rainiers pitcher Mike Montgomery after he recorded his first major league win.
  • I forgot to mention this the other day: the Mariners signed former Reno Aces infielder Tyler Bortnick and assigned him to Double-A Jackson. Thanks to Baseball America’s minor league transactions for the reminder.
  • If you are a Baseball Prospectus subscriber, Rainiers outfielder Leon Landry received a positive write-up today.
  • In the PCL, here’s a report on Reno getting swept at Las Vegas. The Aces dropped the final game yesterday, 8-7.
  • First-place Fresno won in Salt Lake City, 17-0. They had 27 hits, for cripe’s sake. The Salt Lake Tribune used the word “demolished” in the headline.
  • Hey, somebody took the little dogs for a walk! In a 6-6 tie in the 12th inning at El Paso, Sacramento reliever Curtis Partch walked three Chihuahuas to load the bases, and then walked Rico Noel for a walk-off walk. Arf!
  • Chris Valaika had the game-winning hit in the nick of time as Iowa beat Colorado Springs in ten innings, 8-7.
  • Starter Thomas Lee tossed seven strong innings in his Memphis debut and the Redbirds blanked Round Rock, 2-0.
  • Omaha and New Orleans must have been surprised by a storm in Louisiana, because their game was suspended in the first inning last night.
  • Expensive Cuban import Hector Olivera had four hits in Oklahoma City’s 4-2 victory over Nashville last night. While he bides his time in the minors, maybe Olivera would like to do some Okie Noodling.

It’s hot here in Reno, and it will be scorching during Tuesday’s day game. However, the Tuesday day game means I get to swing by the Sierra Nevada Tap House for the first time in a few years. Yes!


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